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SPIDER BABY 1964




CLASSIC HORROR FILM WITH LON CHANEY


Audio/Visual sound, color

Reviews

Reviewer: vonnoosh - - May 9, 2015
Subject: I loved it. A bonafide cult classic
This is one of the goofier horror movies which came out too late for it to capture any notice. The film was made for a 1964 release but because of copyright issues and litigation it turned up on the market in 1968(or '67 according to some, all be fore my time. The point is it was released years after it was produced), The genre changed dramatically by then thanks to filmmakers like H G Lewis who started to make these types of films graphic (and in full color).

The horror is suggested and there's quite alot of it. What's weird is how the horror is juxtaposed with humor. It's an odd combination. Karl Schantzer (also in Wasp Woman) and Carol Ohmart (House on Haunted Hill) are nearly comic in their roles at times.

Lon Chaney Jr plays Bruno, a sympathetic butler/ chauffeur/caretaker to the Merrye family who largely suffers from a degenerative mental illness which causes them to devolve into animals (nearly literally as you will see). Bruno struggles to maintain order in the house and ultimately finds only one way to obtain this for the Merrye family.

Best performance is Jill Banner's and Sid Haig's. Banner is one of the Merrye sisters who is charmingly off her rocker. Sid Haig plays their older brother Ralph who literally walks about at times like a spider. The other sister is played by Beverly Washburn but she gets the spotlight stolen from her by Banner and Haig IMO.

Old time actor (King of the Zombies is one of many to his credit) and comedian Mantan Moreland makes a very brief appearance.

The movie is written and directed by one of Roger Corman's reguarl associates Jack Hill. It has the feel of a Corman movie but the story goes further than Little Shop of Horrors or Bucket of Blood did)

The movie is too bizarre to be missed. Shocked to see it floating around in the public domain. Enjoy the opeing song as well, sung by Lon Chaney Jr himself. He does a better job of this than John Carradine did on Night Train to Munde Fine. Chaney Jr sounds like he was having more fun with it too.
Reviewer: Shadows_Girl - - September 14, 2012
Subject: About Lon Chaney Jr (Creighton)
Contrary to the nonsense posted by a pseudo-expert Chaney didn't play any role in 1970. He played several mute roles during his career from Kharis in The Mummy's Tomb to THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN not because he couldn't talk but because he felt the monsters were scarier when they didn't explain their actions or whine about their re;ationshp problems.

They just killed people.

This film is not one of his best.

His final film (racula Vs Frankenstein)was released in 1971

Around the time Bobby "Boris" Pickett was gaining fame with Mosnter Mash Lon Chaney Jr released "Monster Holiday." Lon wasn't really a singer anymore than Walter Brennan or Lorne Greene or barious other celebrities that relesed records back then but Monster Holiday enhoyed a brief vogue.
Reviewer: drbotanus - - December 19, 2011
Subject: An explanation of Chaney's billing.
To those of you so confused about how and why Chaney's name is posted in different forms, and about the making of Spider Baby, here is a more accurate explanation.
Lon Chaney Sr. ("The Hunchback of Notre Dame" & "The Phantom of the Opera") was billed as simply "Lon Chaney" and obviously never as "Lon Chaney Sr.". His son Creighton Chaney took the stage name "Lon Chaney Jr." but only appeared in a few bit parts shortly after his father died of throat cancer. Since everyone was aware of his father's death (He passed at the height of his popularity) Creighton continued to be billed as Lon Chaney Jr. in a lot of small parts until he made it big ("Of Mice and Men" & "The Wolf Man").
In the 1950s both the father and son's monster movies were re-released to theaters and then to television soon after. Lon Jr. continued to work (mostly in TV) and was able to revive his career in film after the old 1940s films became popular with younger audiences.
Around this time (late 50s) Lon's agent, and the studios that hired him, decided that it might be beneficial to his career if kids thought he and his father were one and the same. So they would think the great make-up artist who played Universal studios Phantom & Hunchback also played the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's Monster, The Mummy, Dracula's Son and other monsters. This strategy likely worked especially well in Monster Magazines that printed B&W pics of both father and son in their creature Make-up. So, "Lon Chaney Jr." became simply "Lon Chaney" to a generation that was not even born until long past his father's death in 1930.
Chaney continued to be billed of and on as "Jr." depending on which project he was working on and it's target audience until his death from a heart attack after years of fighting his own throat cancer. His last film was Al Adamson's Dracula vs. Frankenstein in 1971 and he looks much, much older than he does in Spider Baby, which was shot in 1964 when Beverly Washburn and Jill Banner, both regulars on the 1950s Dragnet series, were in their early 20s but looked much younger. This sometimes makes fans think the film was made even earlier. This was at the time that The Munsters and The Addams Family were new to TV and popular due to a "Monster Craze" inspired by classic horror from 1020s-40s and modern sci-fi/horror from the 50s.
Spider Baby did not get distribution until 1968. Likely because of its strangeness, cannibalism, comedy and because B&W was falling out of favor for theatrical releases. I would bet that a lot of ppl were puzzled by it.
Chaney sings the opening song and I don't think his voice was in any shape to sing anything by 68. He played his final role in 1970 completely mute.
There is an old Hollywood legend that Lon was asked by Dracula vs. Frankenstein producer Sam Sherman if they could film alternate scenes of his character "Groton" turning into a werewolf and killing people to replace scenes of Groton killing with an Ax. (The film originally revolved around bikers, hippies and ax murders, but Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster were added to make the film more marketable.) Anyway, Chaney said that he could not play the Wolfman because he felt he could not express the necessary pathos with his raspy breathy voice. However, since he had played a mute werewolf in a Mexican film about six years earlier it is more likely that, A) he simply did not feel up to putting on the Wolfman make-up or a rubber mask, or B) the story is BS!
Reviewer: Vic Demise - - December 1, 2011
Subject: Oh Yes!!
Where was this film when I was growing up?
Such a great combination of Hot, and tacky, and scary, and bad, and bad, and sort of just, wrong.

I loved this movie.
Reviewer: pugsleymcgoo - - November 29, 2011
Subject: Spider Baby
It's been said that Lon Chaney, Jr was so grateful for the job, he remained sober for the entire shoot.
Jill Banner was beautiful and the perfect Spiderbaby.
Reviewer: macheteconfetti - - October 18, 2011
Subject: Lon Chaney Jr. !!!!!
For some reason Lon Chaney Jr. seems like the sweetest old man ever
Reviewer: topcat57 - - April 24, 2011
Subject: 1964
Jill Banner's bio on IMBD says this was her debut film, and it is listed before the 1967 film The President's Analyst. That would seem to indicate the 64 reference is correct. Lon Cheney Jr. was great in this film as the gentle, caring guardian of the children and a couple of relatives of his late friend. Their branch of the Merry family tree is afflicted with a disease which causes them to regress, brains rotting, and they are fairly homicidal as well.
Reviewer: aculeus - - April 7, 2011
Subject: Spider Baby Is A Scream
Lon Chaney,Jr is the caretaker of the Merrye family, a family that degenerates with age. Featuring over the top performances and graveyard humor this is one of the best latter performances by Lon Chaney, Jr. One of the first psycho families in screen history. Sid Haig steals the show as the imbecilic brother of two psycho sisters. Make some popcorn. Enjoy!
Reviewer: chriskemila - - February 20, 2011
Subject: One of my Favorites on this site
This movie is really enjoyable. Clearly defined characters, good acting, great directing and an awesome ending.
Reviewer: DoctorBotanus - - February 3, 2011
Subject: This is really in the public domain????
Better check it twice.
This picture fell into complete obscurity until Zacherly featured clips from it in the 1987 compilation video Horrible Horrors. Wish someone would put that out on DVD. My VHS is very worn.
Lon Chaney actually preferred to drop the Junior in later years. Beverly Washburn, looking pretty sexy here, and the late Jill Banner (loved her dark bangs and gigantic eyelashes) were semi-regulars on Dragnet and the other Jack Webb programs. Its great to see that Sid Haig was weird from the beginning. That guy must have been in every sci-fi TV series at least twice.
Reviewer: KellyHopkinsville - - January 14, 2011
Subject: ESSENTIAL VIEWING!!!
This movie combines an incredibly imaginative level of weirdness with a cast and technical execution that results in an uniquely rewarding, offbeat-as-they-come picture. The holy grail of low-budget weirdness, not least because of Jill Banner (Mary Malumby), who portrays the title character. But I mustn't forget to credit Lon Chaney Jr. with what I think is one of his best performances; also Quin Redecker, Mary Michel, Sid Haig and Carol Ohmart -- and Mantan.
Reviewer: nigeldavahah - - October 27, 2010
Subject: it isn't spiderpig
Good Flick !!!
Reviewer: Aitchondo - - October 27, 2010
Subject: spider baby
to Shieldlp. The film was made in 1964, released in 1968. A hint to those who might care. If you get a chance to date a girl who is acting in a film like this,...do!
Otherwise, fun film, real fun actors. 6 stars, if I could.
Reviewer: elive65 - - October 26, 2010
Subject: thanks to the contributor and the reviewers!
wow. sometimes i just get lucky. i missed this movie(busy rearing babies) and am so glad to be able to enjoy it now. pure fun. Reading the reviews for this movie provided a mini-degree in movie trivia, too. kudos.
Reviewer: trashmeister - - February 12, 2010
Subject: the norman bates adams family
Except for the very beginning, when the postman is murdered, I can't say this movie is even intended to be very scary. At the same time, there are scenes -- such as when they chase the "bad" lady with knives -- where it could be. I think this is one of those movies where, if you haven't seen it before, and you grew up watching this sort of thing, then you wonder how you missed it. All in all, a good movie and worth watching.
Reviewer: doowopbob - - February 9, 2010
Subject: Poor Creighton....
He's Just Working For Rent And A Bottle By Now..!..He Donated His Corpse To USC..His Brain Was Pickled Long Before The Medical School Jugged It..!
Reviewer: picfixer - - February 8, 2010
Subject: Do you wanna play spider? Heh. Heh. Heh.
After a mini prolog it opens with a brief appearance by the exceptional Mantan Moreland, and within two minutes the ghoulish good fun begins. Stars Lon Chaney (Jr.) supported by an okay cast of relative unknowns. I won't describe the bizarre plot, other than to say this is a thoroughly enjoyable, ultra-black comedy that doesn't use or need a drop of on-screen blood to increase its macabre impact. (Even so, it might be too shocking for some sensitive souls.) Moreover, it's a great example of what talent and a little imagination can produce, even on a small budget. (A remake is in production. Why?) FOOTNOTE: Mantan Moreland may be best known for his recurring role as Birmingham Brown in the later Charlie Chan films, but he also made dozens of other movies. Most of them were average at best, but he always was great fun to watch. Moreland rarely worked from a script, and fortunately most directors were smart enough to just roll the cameras and let him run with it. As a result, Moreland produced, along with his hilarious physical comedy, some of the best situational one-liners on film. Unfortunately, his short appearance in this movie makes little use of these talents. However, there is an inside joke that Mantan Moreland fans will probably pickup on. He can be found here at the Archive in "King of the Zombies," "Charlie Chan in Dark Alibi," "Irish Luck" and "Let's Go Collegiate." There may be others.
Reviewer: ultimatebozo - - April 29, 2009
Subject: Creighton Tull Chaney...
... was Lon Chaney juniors birth name, and he made a couple of movies with that name, before succumbing to studio pressure to become "junior".
While I don't think he was as capable an actor as his father, given the proper material, he was able to occasionally give a good performance, such as his portrayal of "lennie", in "Of Mice and Men"
I sure would like to see Lon Chaney, seniors last movie, and only talkie, the 1930 remake of "The Unholy Three" again sometime. It is evidence that, had he lived, he would have made a fine transition into the "talkies"...
As for Lugosi, he was pretty forthright about his struggle with drug addiction in many of his later interviews, and claimed that it was a result of prescribed pain medication that he developed a dependence for.
As for this movie, I enjoyed it because of, rather than despite its campiness and crudity.
Thank you for posting it...
Reviewer: PumpkinPie - - April 28, 2009
Subject: 1964 or 1968?
To me, the style of the movie, what style of clothes the characters wore, etc., seem more as if the movie were made in '64. Maybe it was re-released or just plain released in '68? I remember a movie called The Brain That Wouldn't Die, which was released three years after it was completed. I think it was made in '59 but released in '62. BTW, that's a good, cheesy B, too.
Reviewer: argon99 - - February 5, 2009
Subject: Bela Lugosi wasn't an alcoholic
Drugs in hollywood have been around for a very long time. Bela Lugosi wasn't an alcoholic but rather a herion addict. Heroin is even a tougher task master then alcohol.
Reviewer: cosmos80 - - January 15, 2009
Subject: Jr and SR.
To the idiots who dont know the difference between SR and JR. Lon Chaney has a son named Lon Chaney Jr.When Lon Chaney Sr died,Lon Chaney Jr dropped the Jr to his name,therefore being called Lon Chaney.
Reviewer: arcturus - - January 14, 2009
Subject: THE GREAT LONG CHANEY JR. RIDES AGAIN.
Honestly if you dont know the diff between lon jr and lon sr. you truly know little of horror movies,and as to whether or not bela and lon were alchoholics i know not,but this i do know here was a guy in his sixties having a ball making a movie with four knockout dames like the chicks in this movie we should all be so lucky, but getting back to the movie i knew this was going to be something special when i set the thing in motion and the first thing i hear is long chaney himself singing the title track,he was a actor with the ability to bring to life any characture or role and make it real to life.dig the scene where his is explaining to the doomed lawyer dude that the source of there peculiar affliction is "inbreeding".the guy who directed it also merits praise for catching the spider babe at her most ravishing angles in the scene where lon realizes that they all doomed.
Reviewer: shieldlp - - January 13, 2009
Subject: Something wrong here
Lon Chaney died in 1930, so his presence is a 1964 film would be truly interesting.

The actor is actually Lon Chaney Jr. and according to the IMDB, the date of the film is 1968, not 1964.

The film is actually pretty good if my memory holds. I saw this a long time ago!
Reviewer: flickfdude - - January 12, 2009
Subject: this needs a higher rating
It's enjoyable in a campy sort of way. The actors are talented too.
Reviewer: FP - - January 1, 2009
Subject: This is public domain?
I had no idea this niftly little movie was PD. I have a crystal-clear DVD of the film, secured some years ago.
Reviewer: bestpbx - - December 25, 2008
Subject: An ear on the floor means the postman has come!
This movie is so whacko!

It is an eight year old's idea of a scary movie.

Poor ol' Lon Chaney... he and Bela Lugosi both just fell to pieces at the end of their lives. How sad. Alcoholism is a tough master.
Reviewer: billbarstad - - December 24, 2008
Subject: It's kinda cute
It's a low-budget Addams Family-style movie. Members of a deranged and murderous, though wealthy, branch of the Merrye family are looked after by a caretaker (Lon Chaney) when relatives accompanied by a lawyer come to take over. Craziness ensues.

It's not bad, but I wasn't expecting much.

I downloaded the MPEG-1 file. It's actually and MPEG-2 file. Video is OK. The audio is poor, but dialog is understandable.
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